State Department Declines to Comment on Allon Statement on American Support

The State Department today evaded a question on United States commitment to Israel that arose from an assertion yesterday in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon that America would support Israel if Russia intervened in the Middle East.

Official spokesman Robert J. McCloskey said U.S. policy was one of respect for the territorial integrity of “all the states in the Middle East.” He said that that policy had been made clear by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He said he had nothing to add.

Asked about the recently increased tensions arising from the massive Egyptian artillery attack on Israelis at the Suez Canal last Saturday, Mr. McCloskey said “we regret the loss of life on both sides.”

(At the United Nations yesterday, Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s Ambassador, charged in a letter to the Security Council that Egypt knew in advance that its “premeditated” artillery attack which killed five Israelis and injured 34, would prejudice Middle East peace-making efforts. He said Egypt had “gravely escalated” the military confrontation by introducing ground-to-ground rockets. Some sources said that the Soviet-supplied Luna missiles could not have been used without Soviet approval.)

(The United States, Britain, France, Italy and Greece will stage joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean next week, the U.S. Navy announced today. The maneuvers, described as “routine.” are occurring at a time of unprecedented Russian naval activity in Egyptian waters and coincide with reports that Moscow may apply pressure to reopen the Suez Canal. In Cairo, the authoritative newspaper Al Ahram said that the Middle East situation is “again approaching an explosion point.”)

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